FREE ONLINE READ: A Peek Into Bought: The Greek’s Bride

A Peek into the Lives of Sandor & Eleanor (Ellie) Christofides from Bought: The Greek’s Bride

For my compassionate and patient readers, and particularly those who have asked over the years: What ever happened to so-and-so, was their baby a boy or a girl, will their children grow up and get their own stories?” These vignettes peeking into the lives of past characters are for you!

These vignettes are not intended to be books, or even novellas. They do not follow typical story structure with a beginning, a middle, a story climax and an ending. The beginning for each vignette was the book it’s based on. Simply put, these are codas, the asked-for glimpses into the lives of favorite characters.

Each of those glimpses is different. Some are very short, others are near novella length and the rest fall somewhere in between. A few are sexy and sensual, all are a bit emotional, but a couple will take you on a new heart-wrenching journey with the characters.

All answer the question “What happened after the HEA?”

I’ll be releasing a new vignette every couple of weeks so be sure to keep an eye on the Harlequin blog as there will be seven in total. It is my sincere hope that you will find as much joy reading these peeks into the lives of the characters as I had writing them.

Love and hugs,

Lucy

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Sandor & Eleanor (Ellie) Christofides from Bought: The Greek’s Bride (2007)

Find Amber & Miguel’s story in Taken: The Spaniard’s Virgin (2007)

 

20+ years after Sandor and Ellie married

Ellie’s heart beat a rapid tattoo in her chest as she looked around the new Agape Resource Center in San Diego. The culmination of a decade-long dream, ARC was now in twenty major US cities, Barcelona, Athens and two of the smaller Greek islands. The idea for the resource center had been her daughter’s.

Ellie had been complaining yet again to Sandor about how the state, which was supposed to help the unemployed get back on their feet and build better lives, was too often hampered by red tape or the client’s desire to get a handout, not a hand up. She wanted to help her clients get necessary education, contacts, even proper interview attire, but her caseload was ridiculous and not conducive to focusing on the individuals. Then there were the clients who worked just long enough to be eligible for benefits before managing to get back into the system again.

She wanted to be able to offer counseling to workers who seemed intent on self-sabotage, but also to those who suffered from a loss of self-esteem after losing a job they may have worked at for years due to downsizing or just a shift in their employer’s economic focus.

Cynthia, ten years old at the time, had asked why Ellie didn’t start her own employment office and make her own rules. Sandor had looked at Ellie in that way he had, the one that said he believed she was capable of anything, and said, “Why don’t you?”

Ellie had spluttered, talked it over with her sister, Amber, and ultimately, with financial help from their dad and Sandor along with Amber’s husband, Miguel Menendez, launched the first Agape Resource Center a year later in her hometown of Boston. Resource counselors were trained to utilize all resources available, how to assess a client’s genuine need and how to guide their clients toward the most useful and productive resources for them.

The Boston facility was soon at maximum capacity, going to two shifts to double the use of their space, offering programs and counseling to their beneficiaries from 8 a.m. to midnight. Ellie, who had never desired to be a business manager or director of any kind, had been at a loss as to what to do. But her sister had stepped in, offering to take on the directorship so they could open a second facility.

Amber and Ellie shared responsibility for fundraising, applying for grants and the like, while it was primarily Ellie’s vision that guided what the ARCs would offer in terms of services and training.

“Did you think we’d see this day?” Sandor asked from beside her.

She smiled up at her husband of more than twenty years. “I never even knew I wanted to, but I can’t imagine anything more satisfying.”

“You have always had a heartening ability to focus in on the individual.”

“While people like you and my father tend to see things globally.” She leaned into Sandor and his strong arm automatically came around her. “Amber does that, too. It was her idea to expand into cities in other states and countries.”

“But without your vision of what these centers could do, the people they could help and the ways they could help them, Agape Resource Center would never have been born.”

“You’re always so supportive.” She reached up and kissed the underside of her tall husband’s chin, inhaling his scent mixed with the yummy aftershave she’d bought him for his last birthday.

He turned, pulled her close and dipped his head for a proper kiss as she knew he would. More than two decades of marriage gave a woman a certain amount of knowledge about her spouse. Ellie responded to Sandor’s kiss without an ounce of embarrassment, despite the audience they had of the center’s clients and even their oldest daughter smiling at them indulgently.

“Don’t you two realize you’re supposed to have grown out of that kind of thing by now?” Cynthia teased.

Named for the grandmother she’d never met, the woman who had died after giving birth to Ellie and Amber, Ellie’s daughter was as strong willed as both her parents combined and smart enough to graduate magna cum laude from university with a degree in business. Unlike her cousin, who had married young, Cynthia showed no interest in romantic relationships, preferring to direct her energies toward learning the ropes of her father’s and grandfather’s companies.

Christofides Enterprises and Wentworth Shipping had consolidated a couple of years after her father married Amber’s adoptive mother. Others might be shocked that the man had married the woman who had ended up raising one of his daughters, but Ellie knew her dad had more guilt over his behavior than any anger over the actions of the woman who had raised Amber as her own.

Her dad’s doctor had been adamant that her father not go back to working insane hours and Ellie had been the one to suggest the merger, once she was confident in Sandor’s love and commitment to her on a personal level that had nothing to do with her dad’s business, or Sandor’s.

And while any of his grandchildren could have taken over George Wentworth’s interest in the company, it was his first wife’s namesake who showed the keenest interest and an amazing business acumen.

“Bite your tongue, daughter. Your mother is never going to grow out of responding to my kisses,” Sandor said with a mock growl.

Ellie laughed, but snuggled in closer to her tycoon husband while their daughter rolled her eyes.

“Yes, I’m pretty sure everyone got the memo on that one, Dad.” The warm smile in Cynthia’s blue eyes, so like her mother’s, belied any true mocking intent behind her words.

“You just wait. One day you will fall in love and even Christofides Enterprises will not hold all your attention in the face of that powerful emotion.”

Cynthia’s lips twisted in patent disbelief, or maybe even distaste. “Not going to happen, Dad. I’m pretty sure I’m one of those people that emotion leaves utterly cold.”

“You are your mother’s daughter, but more telling, you are my daughter. Just because you have never fallen doesn’t mean you never will.”

“I know, I know, I know…and when I do it’s going to knock me on my butt.” Cynthia shook her head. “You’re going to have to look for grandchildren from Christo.”

“Your brother falls in and out of love with too much regularity to commit to any one woman enough to have children with her.”

“Blame yourself and Mom. Christo wants something like you two have, and as soon as he realizes whatever relationship he’s in isn’t that, he goes looking for it with someone else.”

“You kids know what a rocky start your dad and I had,” Ellie said. “You don’t begin with a relationship like the one we have. We’ve been building it for over twenty years.”

“Twenty-seven this year, but who’s counting?” Cynthia said cheekily. “Anyway, it’s not the same to hear how rough it was in the beginning. All we’ve ever seen is how much you two love each other, how close you are. Even I know that if I ever do get married, I’m not settling for anything less.”

Cynthia looked around the new facility for the Agape Resource Center and smiled with satisfaction. “Any man I marry will support the things that are important to me, like Dad supports you.”

“And you? Will you support him as firmly and lovingly as your mother has always stood at my side and in my corner?” Sandor asked of their pragmatically anti-romance daughter.

A strange look came over Cynthia’s face, a frown mixed with a vulnerability that Ellie did not understand. “I’m not sure I have it in me to offer the kind of unconditional love Mom does. You have to know she’s something special, Dad.”

“Oh, I do, but then so are you, my very precious and highly intelligent daughter.”

Cynthia smiled. “You’re a great dad, you know that?”

“And you are an amazing daughter any father would be proud to call his own, but you are so much like me, I cannot help feeling an extra dose of that pride.”

Tension that Ellie just realized had been holding her daughter’s body taut drained out of Cynthia as her smile reached her eyes. “Thanks. I think I needed to hear that.”

“I will say it whenever you need, but remember, spoken aloud or not, I always feel it,” Sandor replied with the intensity and sincerity of feeling Ellie had learned to rely on.

Ellie reached out and hugged her daughter. “Me, too. I love you so much. Don’t worry about finding that right person. When he finds you, you’ll know. And until then? You’re doing an incredible job of dominating the shipping industry and beyond.”

Cynthia laughed as Ellie had meant her to, her beautiful features showing no signs of tension any longer. “I’ll remember that.”

“See that you do.” Sandor was not joking, even a little. “I’m so very proud of the women in my family.”

Ellie knew her husband meant it. He frequently told her of his love and how much he admired the way she’d dedicated her life to helping others.

Billionaire tycoon Sandor Christofides had turned out to be the best sort of husband and lover for a woman like her, and she’d never regretted forgiving him his early duplicity or letting her love for him guide her heart and head when she agreed to marry him. Not once in nearly twenty-seven years, as her daughter had reminded them.

 

 

About the Author

With more than seven million copies of her books in print worldwide, award-winning and USA TODAY bestselling author Lucy Monroe has published over sixty books and had her stories translated for sale all over the world.  While she writes multiple subgenres of romance, all her books are sexy, deeply emotional and adhere to the concept that love will conquer all.  A passionate devotee of romance, she adores sharing her love for the genre with her readers.

 

Look for Lucy Monroe’s next title from Harlequin Presents:

Kostas’s Convenient Bride

Coming May 2018!

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